Chrysanthemum is a classic book for teaching names, individuality, self-love and confidence! Hand in hand with that, is the important concepts of being accepting and supportive of others as well. I always love to add these concepts into our classroom mission statement that we create together during the first week of school. The skills are easily reinforced with the fun read aloud Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. I’m excited to share with you the Chrysanthemum activities I use in my classroom.
When I teach this amazing book, I incorporate a 5 day book study unit along with some extra activities from our Kevin Henkes author study. Together my students really dig into the book and the man who wrote it. I’m excited to give you a little peek into how I teach using Chrysanthemum.
Day 1 Chrysanthemum Activities
A little teaser for engagement
I begin this unit by having my students complete the mouse Color by Sight Word activity. It’s really more of a teaser than an introduction, but it works to get them excited. Not only does this activity follow our normal procedure for learning and reviewing sight words, but it is also a great way to get the kids excited about this cute little mouse that will become the main character of our new book.
During carpet time, I like to hype up the unit by talking to your class about the mouse that will be in the story. The kids always get super excited and love to share their stories and prior knowledge about mice. Sometimes we will use this time to make a K-W-L chart. It also makes a great science connection too. Depending on when you teach this book you might be able to connect to a study of living and nonliving or animals.
Starting with vocabulary
Next, I introduce vocabulary from the book by creating an anchor chart. We discuss each vocabulary word, definition, and how it is used in the story. This really helps students understand the book better as we read the book for the first time.
And that’s what’s next. . . our first reading! This first read aloud is for enjoyment purposes only. I want my kids to immerse themselves in this sweet story. I love to gather everyone together on the carpet and read aloud with as much voice inflection and emotion as I can muster.
After reading, we spend a little time talking about the book. I orally do some basic comprehension questions and model what it looks like to think about a book. I like to ask the questions that the students will later answer in the tri-fold activity. They aren’t completing the tri-fold at this time, but just using the questions to help them start thinking and formulating their answers.
After our discussion, I have my students complete their vocabulary flash cards. I usually have them partner up for this task. They love this activity because they get to draw a picture representing the word and then share it with a friend. It’s really fun to see how, even at a young age, they are developing visualization skills through activities like this.
We finish the day by completing the cover for our “What’s in a Name” book that we will be working on all week. The cover can be completed as a simple craft or a coloring page. In different years, I’ve used different options. I really choose what will work best for the group of students I have that year.
The Chrysanthemum activities are just getting started! There’s four more days of fun!
Day 2 Plan
Reading with a Focus
I begin our lesson by re-reading Chrysanthemum. On this day we are going to be talking about story structure. So as I read, I use my voice to help students identify different parts of the story. I might even stop a few times as we are reading and model some of the thinking I am doing as a reader. These modeling opportunities are generally focused on the characters, setting, problem, and solution.
Learning about story structure
Immediately after reading, we begin learning about story structure. You know me – I love creating an interactive anchor chart about the story structure with my class.
Once we are done we display it at the front of the room and it makes a great visual that we refer to throughout the week when talking about the book and its story structure.
Now that students have heard the book twice, it is time to complete the trifold activity that covers basic comprehension questions.
I usually let students work together in small groups to complete this activity. I love listening in to their discussions on the book and story structure. Our kiddos might be young, but never underestimate the power of kids teaching each other.
We finish the day by working on the next activity for the “What’s in a Name” book. Today we will work on the ‘My Name in Color” activity for the inside of their folder. The students love using lots of colors to write their name. If you’ve ever done rainbow writing with sight words or spelling words then you already know what a hit this activity will be!
That’s our Chrysanthemum activities for day 2, but we’ve just scratched the surface of this great book.
Applying story elements
On day three we really start digging in at a deeper level. Students will be working on portions of the Chrysanthemum story elements craft. This really gives them an opportunity to not only review our lesson from the day before, but they also get to start applying what they learned about story elements to this book. If crafts aren’t your thing, there are also related story elements activities your students can complete.
Before we begin assembling the craft, I like to have students complete the story elements for this book on the provided templates. Students will write or draw the characters, setting, problem and solution from the story. This is a great informal assessment of their understanding of both story elements and the book! The related digital activity is a great alternative if you choose not to make the craft.
This activity includes pages that can be done solely with drawing and others that can include writing too. Choose the options that works best for your students. If you are teaching this unit at the beginning of the year in kindergarten or pre-k, your students may not be ready for the writing portion.
We finish the day with our next activity for the “What’s in a Name” book. Today students will complete the Interactive flower in their folder about their name. Students will use their name and relate it to a variety of phonics skills like counting syllables, vowels, letters and more. There are so many opportunities for engagement in this Chrysanthemum activities book study!
Chrysanthemum Activities for Day 4
Digging deeper into names
Day four is the day we begin pulling it all together! We will be digging in to the theme of the book with the Pocket Name Sort activity. This is another activity that will be put on the inside of the “What’s in a Name” book the students are making. You can either have students use the empty name strips or use the editable template and type in the names for everyone in the class.
If you are doing this at the beginning of the year in pre-k or kindergarten you might also have students write their own name on every strip. This would be great name writing practice. Then students could give one of their name strips to each of the other students in the class.
Students will make the sorting pockets that will be glued into the book. This sorting activity builds on the name activity from the day before. Today students will be sorting the class names based on the number of letters they have. Sorting will be less letters than my name, the same number of letters as my name, and more letters than my name. A great math connection and a wonderful time to work on comparing numbers.
The favorite craft activity
After this, students begin making their Chrysanthemum mouse story element craft. This activity is a hit with everyone. They really love creating their own Chrysanthemum and they take such pride in making sure they follow directions and do their best work.
As you plan, here’s some helpful information based on my experience with this activity. 2nd graders can finish this craft in one day without much exception. If you are teaching 1st graders or below I would allow 2 days to complete this activity (or some extra time).
Day 5 Wrap-Up
Bringing it all together
On the last day of this book study or Chrysanthemum activities will be focused on finishing things up and wrapping up the book. If the story element craft is not yet completed, that is the first thing we do. It’s a great time to review those story element one more time.
We also finish up our “What’s in a Name?” book today. Today students will focus on some reflection questions about their own name. The kids love gluing in the flaps and then writing their answers underneath.
Analyzing the book
I like to finish the week with one last reading of the book. This time as we read I will have the students more involved in the reading or story telling. I might stop and ask questions like:
- What happened next?
- Who was that?
- What does that word mean?
- Where did that take place?
- How did they solve the problem?
I hope you see that those questions are a great way to review all.the.things we focused on during the week!
I like to end with some discussion about our thoughts and feelings on the book. We will talk about whether we liked the book and our favorite parts. We will identify our favorite character. And . . . we will spend some time talking about what we can learn from this sweet mouse.
Chrysanthemum Extension Activities
The daily Chrysanthemum activities I described above detail out our reading block for the week. However, I love weaving in our book study into morning work, centers, small group instruction and more.
These Chrysanthemum extension activities are perfect! And . . . they make great early finisher activities too! Here’s a few additional activities that are great to pull from and to use as extension to the lessons.
- Sequence of events cut and paste
- Color by sight word sheet number 2
- Write a letter to Chrysanthemum
- Compare and Contrast Venn Diagram
The letter to Chrysanthemum is one of my favorite extensions. I love to see what they come up with when they tell her how they feel about her name. At the beginning of the week I love to teach a mini-lesson on writing a letter during our writing instruction time. Then I add this activity to the writing center for students to complete during the week.
After teaching this book study for years, I can confidently say that I know you and your students will love this Chrysanthemum book study. You can find it in the Emily Education store and it includes everything you need to complete all the activities. Plus, it now includes digital activities too! These digital activities can be completed on Google apps or Seesaw. They are perfect for face to face learning or distance learning.
Kevin Henkes Author Study
If you love Keven Henkes like I do, you might want to do the Chrysanthemum book study as part of a full author study! In an author study you learn about the author and dig into multiple books written by them. This gives multiple opportunities to not only dive into more books, but also work on skills like recurring themes, writing styles and more.
I have put together a Kevin Henkes author study which includes activities, crafts, printables, and more for nine of his well-loved books. It is packed FULL of activities to keep your students engaged and learning. This author study includes activities for:
- Wemberly Worried
- Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse
- A Weekend with Wendell
- Julius The Baby of The World
- Chester’s Way
- Sheila Rae, The Brave
- Lilly’s Big Day
I like to complete the author study over the course of one month. Each week focus on one or two of the books. Each book focuses on a reading comprehension strategy so it is a wonderful way to introduce or review these skills. Similar to the Chrysanthemem activities, this author study has a variety of activities and crafts for each of the nine books. There’s also some bonuses in this bundle that you can’t find anywhere else.
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